Networking with executive search firms: tips for success

By Robert Half 9th January 2018

Growing your professional network goes hand-in-hand with growing your career. You might not be looking for a new executive job opportunity now, but having an executive search agency in your corner is beneficial for your career prospects in the long-term. 

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The benefits of networking with executive search firms

It can be hard to see the benefit in networking with recruiters when you’re already settled in a role, but there are a lot of reasons to start cultivating strong relationships.

It can be all too easy to keep up the familiarity of a current job and forget that there’s an entire industry of exciting opportunities still unexplored. Maintaining relationships with executive recruitment companies are a good way to keep in touch with the kinds of new roles and opportunities which suit your skill set. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Being connected with executive recruiters also offers you a career safety net. No one knows what the future holds, so the support of a network of heavyweights with great contacts can be reassuring.

What you need to know about networking with executive recruitment firms

Developing a good relationship with an executive recruitment firm isn’t just beneficial for you as a candidate. Retained executive search firms are paid based on the performance and tenure of the candidates they place. The better they know you and your performance level, the more likely they are to have confidence in placing you with one of their best clients.  

•    Make time for a phone call

When you aren’t looking for a new opportunity, it can feel like added hassle to take a call from a recruiter. If you find that you’ve been headhunted by an executive recruitment company, it can’t hurt to spend a few moments on the phone. It’s typically far better to make and maintain relationships with executive search firms in advance of needing their services.  

•    Make yourself more ‘sellable’

Getting headhunted by an executive recruitment firm is a huge compliment and there are a few things you can do to help make yourself more visible to them. Collect testimonials, network consistently and improve your LinkedIn profile and CV so that you’re more ‘sellable’ as a candidate. If you aren’t sure which areas need improvement, they’ll be able to advise you. 

•    Refer another professional

A role may not be suitable for you, but you may know someone who is a perfect fit. Similarly, if you know your business is looking to make an executive hire, you might like to improve your relationship with a firm by recommending them for a retained position. 

•    Give feedback on vacant roles

Good working relationships are reciprocal, so giving feedback on vacant roles is a great way to return the favour. If you’ve managed to make a contact at an executive recruitment firm and have been offered a role you aren’t interested in pursuing, let them know which aspects were unattractive to you as a candidate and different ways it could be pitched, from a candidate perspective.

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